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U.S. now leads the world with most deaths, Boris Johnson out of hospital

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Norma Urrabazo prays at an Easter drive-in service at the International Church of Las Vegas on April 12, 2020.
Norma Urrabazo prays at an Easter drive-in service at the International Church of Las Vegas on Sunday. John Locher / AP

The U.S. has surpassed Italy as the country with the highest number of coronavirus deaths with nearly 22,000 recorded by early Monday, according to NBC News figures.

Worldwide, the death toll is more than 113,000, and the number of confirmed cases has surpassed 1.8 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from St. Thomas' Hospital in London and returned home Sunday, a promising sign for the Conservative leader's recovery.

To mark Easter, Pope Francis gave his annual address on Sunday to an empty basilica, calling for solidarity and prayer during these difficult times as holiday traditions have been upended in the pandemic.

In pop culture, coronavirus survivor Tom Hanks made a surprise appearance on "Saturday Night Live," giving the opening monologue for the show's remote episode from his kitchen. SNL's current and former cast members also memorialized SNL music producer Hal Willner, who died of complications from the virus.

As unemployment continued to soar in the U.S., Former Vice President Joe Biden released a plan to reopen the American economy in a New York Times op-ed.

Mainland China reported 99 new coronavirus infections, more than doubling from the previous day to reach a one-month high, as the number of single-day imported cases hit a record, official data released Sunday showed. Almost all the new infections — the biggest daily count since March 6 — involve travelers from overseas. Just two out of the 99 cases were locally transmitted.

In addition, highlighting another major source of risk, newly reported asymptomatic coronavirus cases nearly doubled to 63, up from 34 the previous day, according to China's National Health Commission.

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Smithfield closes South Dakota pork plant

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Virginia-based Smithfield Foods announced Sunday it is closing its pork processing plant in Sioux Falls until further notice after hundreds of employees tested positive for the coronavirus — a step the head of the company warned could hurt the nation's meat supply.

The announcement came a day after South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken wrote to Smithfield and urged the company to suspend operations for 14 days so that its workers could self-isolate and the plant could be disinfected.

The plant, which employs about 3,700 people in the state's largest city, has become a hot spot for infections. Health officials said Sunday that 293 of the 730 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in South Dakota work at the plant.

Antibody testing study begins in California

LOS ANGELES — As Los Angles County reaches over 9,000 reported COVID-19 cases and nearly 300 deaths, a huge unknown remains here and across the nation: How bad is it?

With a population of 10 million, larger than those of more than 40 states, the county is a prime location to launch a large-scale study that aims to answer that question and learn more about antibodies that could potentially provide immunity from COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus, according to public health and policy experts.

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More than 6,000 New Yorkers now dead from COVID-19

More than 6,000 residents of New York City have lost their lives from complications brought on by COVID-19, health officials said Sunday night. 

Medical personnel move a deceased patient to a refrigerated truck serving as make shift morgues at Brooklyn Hospital Center on April 9, 2020 in New York City.Angela Weiss / AFP - Getty Images

There have been at least 6,182 confirmed coronavirus fatalities as of 5 p.m., according to the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's daily tally.

The increase of 440, from the same time on Saturday, follows spikes of more than 500 in four of the previous five reporting periods. 

 

Britain at its best in a crisis, Prince William says

LONDON - Prince William says Britain is at its best in a crisis, his office said Sunday, the latest in a series of messages from the royal family seeking to galvanize the nation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Queen Elizabeth has twice addressed Britons in the past week, while heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, who tested positive for the new virus, has also issued several video and audio messages since he recovered.

William's message came on a day when the COVID-19 death toll in hospitals across the United Kingdom passed 10,000.

"I think Britain is at its best when faced with a crisis," the queen's grandson said during a call with a community charity in northern England that runs a food bank and has been delivering hot meals to isolated people. "We all pull together and that community spirit comes rushing back quicker than anything else." 

Photo: An Easter bunny visit in Washington, D.C.

Richard Lucas, dressed as an Easter bunny, waves to families in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Vietnamese-owned nail salons donate thousands of masks, gloves to hospitals

Zen Nails in Brentwood, Tenn., has converted its space into a small factory producing protective masks and gowns for local hospitals.Trang Nguyen

When Huy Nguyen closed his nail salon in Mobile, Alabama, two weeks ago in response to the coronavirus pandemic, he donated all of the protective equipment in his inventory — a few hundred masks and eight boxes of gloves.

Nguyen, an owner of Top Nails 2, wasn’t alone. Prompted by a Facebook request from a local Vietnamese pharmacist, dozens of other Vietnamese salon owners in Mobile came together and contributed more than 134,000 gloves and 23,000 masks to a nearby hospital. Nguyen later called friends who own salons in other cities and encouraged them to do the same.

“Fighting this virus is a responsibility for every one of us,” he told NBC Asian America. “We don't work in the medical field, so we cannot fight the virus directly but we want to share our responsibility and share what we have with the community.”

As health care professionals report shortages of personal protective equipment, Vietnamese-owned nail salons across the country, which dominate the multibillion-dollar nail industry in the U.S., are donating protective masks and gloves — requisite sanitation items in every salon — to hospitals in their communities.

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Baseball is back for the people — and cats — of Taiwan to enjoy

The world's first competitive, professional baseball game to be played after the start of the pandemic was held in Taiwan on Sunday, to the joy of countless fans and cats on the self-governing island.

President Tsai Ing-wen posted pictures and video of herself and a feline loved one watching the Uni-President Lions defeat the Chinatrust Brothers 4-1 after 11 innings inside an empty stadium.

The Chinese Professional Baseball League's season opener was supposed to be on Saturday, but rain washed out the Rakuten Monkeys and Chinatrust Brothers.

Taiwan has received worldwide praise for its handling of COVID-19 outbreak. Tsai urged citizens to watch baseball and promised that "when the epidemic is over, we'll meet at the stadium."

British comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor dies of coronavirus at 79

Tim Brooke-Taylor in an episode of the BBC series "The Goodies" in 1975.Don Smith / Radio Times via Getty Images file

LONDON — Tim Brooke-Taylor, famed British comedian and performer, died Sunday morning from COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus. He was 79.

Brooke-Taylor was part of Cambridge University’s Footlights revue, the breeding ground of several generations of British comic talent. He broke into radio and television comedy in the 1960s alongside future Monty Python members John Cleese and Graham Chapman.

Brooke-Taylor went on to form The Goodies with Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie. The trio specialized in slightly surreal sketches incorporating visual inventiveness, slapstick and songs. Their song “Funky Gibbon” even became a U.K. top 10 chart hit in 1975.

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Trans woman fined for breaking Panama’s gender-based lockdown

Barbara Delgado.Human Rights Watch

A transgender woman in Panama was fined $50 for breaking the country’s gender-based coronavirus lockdown, according to a report from Human Rights Watch. On April 1, Bárbara Delgado was stopped and detained by police who alleged she was male and out on the wrong day.

The country’s gender-based lockdown, put in place by Panama’s Ministry of Health, permits women to do essential shopping on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In contrast, men are allowed out for their essential shopping on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. No citizens are allowed outside of their homes on Sundays.

Delgado was stopped on a Wednesday, on her way to volunteer at a medical center near her home. Three others, two men and a woman, were also stopped for breaking quarantine rules but were released with a warning.

However, Delgado was detained for three hours inside a police station and made to pay a fine because the male gender marker on her identification did not match her appearance, according to Human Rights Watch. In Panama, sex reassignment surgery is required to change a person’s legal gender on official documents. 

Panamanian human rights and LGBT organizations have called on the government to consider gender perspectives when making decisions about quarantine measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.